Sead Sadiković: Fairytale without fairies

Sead Sadiković: Fairytale without fairies

First EU Investigative Journalism Award 2015, Montenegro

The fire-fighting vehicles, which the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior procured for the needs of municipal services, for protection and rescue, had been imported under the extremely suspicious circumstances. With a crucial ambiguity in the tender procedure, one company was brought in a privileged position and it got the contract worth 20 million Euro. That job, however, was concluded   in the name of local self-governments, some of which received the vehicles as a donation from the state while some had to pay for them. The job on their behalf, therefore, was concluded without them, who needed to pay the money in the end. In the local government of Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje and Berane they did not agree to take part in such arrangement.

As the time passed, the ownership over the trucks became disputable, because now the municipalities do not agree to take over these vehicles from the Ministry of Finance, which took over the vehicles from the Ministry of Interior. While a multimillion loan is being paid by the state, i.e. the citizens of Montenegro, this story which has been followed by Sadiković continuously for five years reveals corruption, as well as the lack of reaction from the State Prosecutor's Office.

As assessed by the award jury, the TV story "The Old Fire-fighter’s Trucks" in an original way reveals the mechanisms of abuses and illegalities in the procurement of expensive fire-fighting vehicles, which remain out of use for years. “The special value of this story is that the journalist returned back to the story after many years, revealing the facts that confirmed his earlier assumptions about a suspicious job that was covered (up) … which had to be investigated by the competent state authority, and that is persistently missing. Wishing to underline the absurdity of that situation, the author chose a very effective way to tell this story in the form of a fairy tale, giving it a powerful author’s seal, so characteristic for the work of this journalist” as the jury members concluded in the elaboration of the award.

A suspicious job “sold” as a concern for the public interest

Sadiković says that the award of EC for investigative journalism is primarily a confirmation that what he is doing and what he was doing is professionally and ethically right. “At a time when the European integration is a dominant social topic in Montenegro, as the first winner of the first award of EU for investigative journalism, in addition to the support for my work, I feel a great responsibility for what has been done. And, I do admit that I have brought down the investigative journalism in Montenegro to the simplest collection of the most visible facts and synthesized them in almost a story for children about the big crime. I am glad that an essential layer of the story is recognized as the investigative one. The paradox [is] that from the official perspective of the EU Montenegro has been recognized as an example in the region…” says the first awarded author.

Sead Sadiković is a journalist of TV Vijesti since the establishment of that media outlet in 2008. Before that, since 1999, he had been a correspondent for Radio Free Europe. He worked in several Montenegrin and foreign media. He is a journalist since 1992, and the first texts he published in "Liberal" from Cetinje and "Monitor" from Podgorica. At that time when the Montenegrin government unequivocally took the side of Slobodan Milosević and went on Dubrovnik, Sead Sadiković in his texts and public engagements strongly opposed violent and nationalistic politics.  

He gained a full professional recognition and the journalist maturity in the TV Vijesti, in the authoring show named "Without Borders/Bez granica". For seven years now, in that magazine, Sadiković, in an authoritative and particularly stylish way, has successfully been telling the stories about unusual events and people who rarely or never appear in newspapers or TV, but also about the so-called big stories that most other media are reluctant to report about. "Without Borders" is at the top of the most watched programs on Montenegrin televisions, and Sadiković is one of the favourite authors.

TV Vijesti is a private, commercial television, which began with broadcasting in May 2008. The most of the capital is owned by Montenegrin citizens, renowned journalists and public figures, while the minority part belongs to the American MDLF-u. From its establishment until today, the strategic foundation of this television company that has a national coverage is the news program.